Questions
1.  Pope Julius II commissioned works from virtually every important artist of his day, including Michelangelo, Raphael, Bramante, Titian, and others.  Select 2 or 3 works of art, from at least 2 different artists from the course materials, that Julius commissioned and discuss them in terms of their style and iconography.  In each case, analyze how these works a) gave visual form to Julius’ vision of a renewed and empowered “imperial” papacy and b) identified Rome as the fountainhead of High Renaissance artistic/philosophical/cultural ideals.
2.  You are a Venetian High Renaissance artist-intellectual who has grown very tired of the pro-disegno/anti-colore treatises generated by artists and theorists based in Rome.  Write a pro-colore essay in which you argue for the aesthetic and psychological advantages of foregrounding color over design.  Among the issues you may want to address:
  • The particular skills required to work successfully as a color-oriented painter.
  • The superiority of color-oriented (as opposed to design-oriented) paintings as visual aids to religious devotional practices.
  • The superiority of color-oriented (as opposed to design-oriented) paintings to convey the sensuality of mythological subjects.
  • The problems with (or inappropriateness of) the gendered associations of the disegno/colore debate.
Support your arguments with specific references to/analyses of at least 2 Venetian Renaissance paintings from the course materials.  You may also wish to reference Florentine or Roman paintings from the course materials to contrast with your Venetian examples.
3.  Throughout his career, Raphael painted numerous portraits.  One important early commission were the pendant portraits (i.e. portraits designed as a pair, in this case to commemorate their recent marriage) of Agnolo Doni and his bride Maddalena Strozzi Doni.  First compare and contrast the portraits with one of Raphael’s Madonna and Child and St. John the Baptist paintings. How are they similar in composition and/or style? Different? Then discuss these two paintings in terms of the gender of their respective subjects. The two works were displayed together. In what ways have they been stylistically/compositionally coordinated to function successfully as pendant paintings? In what ways is each painting distinct (stylistically, iconographically, psychologically). Which distinctive elements can be described as “gender specific”?  In other words, what are the ways in which these paintings “visualize” the sorts of gender divisions/hierarchies that we know existed among the affluent middle class of Renaissance Florence?

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